Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Kevin Willard quotebook: Georgetown postgame

On Seton Hall's performance in last two games against DePaul and Georgetown:
"We were 3-6 and people were giving us our last rites, and this team has found a way and grinded and fought to get to be 9-8. They did the same thing tonight. We didn't have our best energy or our best A-game, but I think you have to give Georgetown a lot of credit for that. I thought they really battled and did some good things defensively, but I'm awfully proud of how hard we've fought all season."

On whether Tuesday's game was symbolic of Seton Hall's season:
"We're just not a pretty team sometimes, especially when we're not making -- I think Myles (Powell) had four really good looks in the second half. Sometimes when we struggle to shoot, teams load up the lane on us and it's gotten harder for us to score, but I think good teams find a way to win and that's kind of what these guys are doing."

On junior class willing Seton Hall to a potential second straight NCAA Tournament:
"You look at what they've kind of gone through, I think their freshman year, getting off to a great start and really kind of finding out what the Big East is all about; last year, maturing a little bit as the season went on and this year, really battling a very tough conference schedule. At times, it's been a little tough on us. It just shows they've got a lot of heart, they want to win, they want to get there and I'm proud of them."

On having a different member of the junior class step up in each of last three wins:
"I don't know the last time that three juniors have had 1,000 points, and I think Isaiah was only 200 points away. You would have had four guys with that class be 1,000-point scorers. I think they recognize who has a hot hand, they recognized Desi was going, and at times when guys are struggling, they all pick each other up and I think Desi did a great job of picking us up tonight."

On Angel Delgado:
"I think his numbers are a little crazy. He's really battled, I think it shows his dedication to his body. He's become such a physical player. He doesn't out-jump people, he doesn't out-quick people, he's playing extremely physical and I think that it's a great league for him, because it's a physical league."

"I thought he had the motor. He had the work ethic and the motor, and for kids to become successful, they don't want to hear it and most kids don't want to listen to you, but 99 percent of the time, if you outwork your opponent and you work hard, good things are going to happen to you. And this junior class has worked extremely hard, not only him, but Khadeen, Desi, Ish. I thought Mike Nzei was phenomenal, I thought he won us the game, to be honest with you. His stat line doesn't show it, but Michael was phenomenal. Mike's part of that junior class, technically, so you look at that group, that group works really, really hard, so I think that's why they've got some good opportunities."

On team mindset going into Saturday's game at Butler:
"I'm going to be really happy to see (Andrew) Chrabascz go out and get his jersey. I might hand him his jersey for him, to be perfectly honest with you. No, they're a fantastic team. Chris (Holtmann) has done an unbelievable job. I think it's one of the best places to watch a college game, the fans are into the game, they're knowledgeable about the game. It's going to be a great atmosphere, it's going to be a great opportunity. We've had some really good battles with them, I don't think we've beaten them since, like, 1997 when P.J. was here, but it's an opportunity for us against a really good basketball team."

On describing the season in one word:
"Toughness."

On using last year's Big East Tournament run for inspiration:
"This team doesn't need any inspiration. When you're playing in the Big East Tournament, there's no rah-rah. You respect the tournament, you respect Madison Square Garden, you understand the legacy that's there, you understand we're a big part of that legacy, then you see who you play and you get ready to play. We're a little bit older, we're past that. You just gotta go out and play."

On Desi Rodriguez and Angel Delgado's contributions:
"Desi and Angel have been huge parts. Not only have they been big parts as players, but I think they've been great ambassadors to the program. They're great with the fans, they're great with the student base, they're great in the community and I think sometimes; obviously on the basketball court, they've been phenomenal, but I think for the overall program, they've just been huge."

On Ismael Sanogo and his availability Saturday:
"Ish, I'll be honest with you: I don't know how he played. It's a miracle. We got off the plane, we got home, our flight landed -- I think we got home at 11 from DePaul, we got back to campus and by the time we got the bags at 12:15, he went right to treatment. He woke up Sunday and went to treatment three times, went to treatment three times yesterday. He came up to my office and said 'I'll give you everything I have, but I want to play,' so the kid's got a lot of heart."

"I will see how he feels on Friday when we land. Sometimes with an ankle when you fly, that's what happened coming back, it could swell up, so I will see how he feels. If he feels -- I'm sure he's gonna feel better than he did today -- if he feels better, then I'll play him."

On seniors Michael Dowdy Jr. and Madison Jones:
"Mike Dowdy was going to walk on as a freshman, but he's a chemical engineer, he wants to be like a CSI guy, and so he couldn't get his class schedule, and then his classes for that major were right around our practice time. But he came around his sophomore year and really decided that he wanted to do it, and I said, 'sure.' It's hard for us to get walk-ons, we don't have a huge male population. He came into the office and said, 'I can only be here on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,' and I said that's fine. He has such a great work ethic and such a great attitude that obviously next year, I'm going to have to get him a job. He is a phenomenal young man with a great work ethic, and he's been a big part of what we've done here, he just doesn't get the recognition. And then Madison, I've called him the rudder, he's just been a great blessing. I think this has given him a chance to show who he is as a person. He's fought back from some tough times and he's matured, and he's helped us. Not only is he a very good player, he's a phenomenal young man and it's helped us. I've been very blessed to have those two guys in our program."

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